Reception Toasts & Speeches
It's amazing when parents, the maid of honor, the best man, and friends share beautiful, heartfelt words.
Although toasts may occur almost any time before, during, or after the meal service, I typically recommend that they're scheduled during the meal's salad service.
Prior to your event, you'll want to make sure that your audio engineer has wireless microphones available for the speech makers. This concern is super important. I've been at some reception events where only wired microphones are available and that restricts where speakers may stand and deliver their speech.
As a wedding photographer, it's terribly difficult to make beautiful photographs of your important friends and family when a short cable and a wired microphone force them to stand near a not-so-attractive DJ booth or bandstand.
During the speeches, I typically recommend that the speaker stand next to or directly behind the couple. This allows me to capture photographs of the three of you together, focusing on your interplay during the speech.
As a corollary, placing your friend and family member nearby enhances the moment and often results in physical contact that stirs even greater emotions than might otherwise occur. And of course those emotions photograph beautifully.
Speeches are an important tradition during wedding receptions. However, when you invite someone to speak at your event, I recommend that you emphasize that their time on the microphone must be brief.
For best results, I recommend that the parents, best man, and maid of honor be asked to limit their speech to three minutes. If you don't specifically mention a strict time limit, someone may go on for ten, fifteen, or even twenty minutes!
And those extended speeches can negatively impact the reception schedule or even damper the overall festivities. And, since your catering service typically won't deliver food courses during a speech, the freshness of your meals is also impacted.
Also, unless you have tons of free time in your schedule, I recommend that you avoid having the DJ ask the audience if anyone else would like to speak who is not on the schedule. I've seen issue with speeches come up at countless weddings and thus these factors bear close consideration as you plan your reception.